San Leandro, CA asked in Consumer Law, Lemon Law, Products Liability and Small Claims for California

Q: What options would I have if a defective TV stand broke my TV and other expensive electronics?

What options would I have if I purchased a TV stand (online, but live in California [if it makes a difference]), assembled it exactly according to the manual, and without any external force/stimulus (earthquake, draft, etc.), the TV stand broke (wooden legs collapsed/broke, or glass tabletop cracked/broke) causing the TV to fall and break, as well as break all the other electronics it was holding; Audio-Video Receiver (AVR), Speaker(s), video game consoles (4; Playstation 3, Xbox One S, Playstation 4 Pro, Nintendo Switch), UHD HDR BluRay disc player, modem, router, cable box, various movies/Bluray Discs, etc.?

If it's pertinent, damages would be upward of $6,500 USD (TV=$3.5k+, AVR=$800+, speakers=$600+, consoles=$1k+, movie disc player=$100+, router[ASUS RT-AC5300]=$300+, etc.) (prices on store receipt). Also, everything was weighed beforehand and confirmed that the TV stand unit was rated to hold cumulative and precise (top layer rated 135 lbs., middle shelf 50 lbs., etc.) weight.

3 Lawyer Answers
William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Products Liability Lawyer
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: To be honest, it seems pretty unlikely that every single piece of electronics was damaged so severely that they are all inoperable. Moreover, your stated value of the router is about $40 too high. Similar exaggerations for the value of the other equipment will be devastating to your credibility.

However, to pursue a claim, you would first make a written demand upon the manufacturer and retailer of the stand for compensation for your damages setting forth each damaged component by model number and serial number, together with evidence of the purchase cost and replacement cost for each item. If you fail to agree upon adequate compensation, you can file a lawsuit in Small Claims for product liability, breach of contract, breach of warranty of merchantability and breach of warranty of fitness for particular purpose. An attorney can prepare the paperwork for you, and get it filed and served. Attorneys are not allowed at the actual hearing.

If you sue, bring all evidence of the purchase of the stand and of the electronic equipment (receipts), the manual and warranty for the stand, along with some kind of proof of value of the equipment (receipts, offers for sale of replacement equipment, etc.). You may also need to prove that each item is inoperable as a consequence of the collapse of the TV stand and nor for some other reason. Photographs might suffice, but a written statement from an electronics technician would be better.

Plaintiff’s Claim and ORDER to Go to Small Claims Court; Form SC-100 (Lawsuit for monetary damages)

Other Defendants; Form SC-100A;

Proof of Service; Form SC-104

courts.ca.gov/forms.htm?filter=SC

No guaranties that these are the appropriate forms or that a Small Claims Judge will rule in your favor.

1 user found this answer helpful

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered

A: I am going to have to agree with Mr. Light: Unless the TV and each of the electronic components you claim to have lost to damages was a top of the line first class brand, and also brand spanking new, right out of each box they came in, your estimation of their replacement costs are way out of line. And even if all were brand new, as Mr. Light noticed, it is not possible that all of you equipment was "broken" beyond repair. Finally, even if all the stuff was brand new right out of the box, it appears that the price you paid for most of them was way too high.

I am NOT advising you to forget about suing the manufacturer and the store where you bought the wooden TV stand; all I want you to understand is that--at least in civil litigation--asking and getting are not the same.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
Answered
  • Products Liability Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: It might be worthwhile to double-check the accompanying paperwork to determine if the manufacturer included any type of provision where they limit their damages to only the stand they sold.

Tim Akpinar

1 user found this answer helpful

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.